Siebel Ships First Two New Vertical Apps

Just a month after announcing it would introduce 23 vertical industry solutions, Siebel Systems shipped the first two this week. Overall, the company’s vertical CRM product line is designed to improve functionality, business processes, integration and customer analytics while reducing corporate customers’ total cost of ownership (TCO).

The first two entrants in the Siebel 7.7 industry-specific line address two of the most price- and feature-competitive industries: telecommunications and automotive.

These CRM products will help broaden carriers’ and automotive dealers’ view of their customers, regardless of lines of business, geography or communication channels, according to Siebel. Additionally, industry-specific functionality will minimize the need for customization, enabling companies to speed deployment and solve problems in a cost-effective manner.

Easing Competitive Pressures

Siebel Communications 7.7 is geared toward local, long-distance, cable, satellite, wireless, Internet and media organizations that want to optimize customer-service effectiveness, simplify sales operations, enhance collaboration across the demand chain, boost marketing effectiveness and perk up the customer buying experience.

The product provides the carrier market with upgrade features like ATM, frame relay and network ordering, according to Siebel. It also allows users to create and validate voice or data orders, dispatch unscheduled activities, resolve bill inquiries and manage current subscription account support.

Ferocious competition among carriers, along with market saturation and a focus on subscriber profitability, has elevated the importance of retaining existing customers and winning back ex-customers. Siebel says Communications 7.7 will assist carriers in this effort by allowing them to offer more specialized services to meet consumers’ shifting needs. At the same time, the software will help those carriers leverage their strategic partnerships and boost brand awareness.

Save the Best

Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group, told CRM Buyer in an interview that the churn rate for carriers this year is expected to be 77 million customers, largely because of a new U.S. law that lets customers keep their existing phone numbers when they switch carriers. There is no way carriers can prevent all 77 million turnovers, Greenberg said, but it is worthwhile to use Siebel 7.7 Communications or a similar package to identify the high-value customers that are worth saving.

Moreover, with its communications CRM suite solution, Siebel says it has extended its business architecture to design and deliver predetermined functionality that addresses some of the telecom industry’s most critical business challenges.

Deutsche Telekom AG, T-Mobile USA, NTT/Verio and Verizon Global Solutions are among the Siebel CRM suite customers that will be able to take advantage of Communications 7.7 by integrating it with their provisioning, billing, usage and other back-office systems, Siebel said. The company noted that such a move could streamline operations and reduce costs.

Managing Automotive ‘Touchpoints’

Meanwhile, Siebel Automotive 7.7 targets new CRM functionality at vehicle manufacturers, distributors, dealers and captive finance providers to improve customer retention. It focuses on customer “touchpoints,” including Web, call-center, field organization and partner networks.

In addition to this focus, new or enhanced functionality in Automotive 7.7 is designed to provide something for all aspects of the automotive sales business, including dealer showroom management, dealer marketing, lease end-of-term management, account management and servicing support, according to Siebel.

“[The] consumer knows that buying a car is a price- and feature-competitive effort and you can get good deals if you work at it,” Greenberg said. “Fighting for brand loyalty with CRM applications like Siebel 7.7 can be a smart move for an auto brand holder.”

According to Siebel, a subsidiary of Toyota Financial Services Corporation in Japan, Toyota Financial Services (TFS), already has deployed Automotive 7.7’s captive finance functionality to support its plans for growth and profitability.

Toward Lower TCO

As its major vertical rollout begins, the company said each of the products under the Siebel 7.7 umbrella addresses eight TCO concerns: installation, configuration, operations, upgrades, performance, usability, testing and integration.

Siebel Automotive and Communications each reduce TCO by 39 percent over previous releases, according to the company. Both products simplify and speed deployment, upgrade and maintenance while reducing the time and effort required to implement and test customizations.

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